225 new immigrants (Olim) from North America landed at Ben Gurion Airport this morning on the 63rd Nefesh B’Nefesh chartered Aliyah flight through El Al Israel Airlines. The flight was coordinated in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah & Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), Jewish National Fund-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.

The new Olim come from a variety of backgrounds, culturally and demographically – hailing from 19 US states and one Canadian province. The flight also carried a diverse group of professionals who are bringing their unique talents to communities throughout Israel. 27 medical professionals arrived and will be improving Israel’s medical system and aiding in the growing medical shortage in the country. 72 Olim on the flight are part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh-KKL Go Beyond initiative, which is aimed at developing Israel’s peripheral regions and Jerusalem.

In addition, the flight brought 40 future lone soldiers who will join the 3,500 men and women from around the world who are currently serving as part of the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program. Once they become Israeli citizens, these men and women will be required to enlist in the IDF, as are all Israeli citizens at the age of 18. 80% of the future lone soldiers on today’s flight are part of Tzofim-Garin Tzabar, a Friends of Israel Scouts program, who before and throughout their military service are adopted by Israeli communities that serve as their home away from home. Their absorption period includes ulpan Hebrew studies, educational tours in Israel, introduction to the military structure and the different positions.

“Although I have traveled to Israel many times, it is surreal to finally be landing as an official Israeli citizen,” said Sam Leeman. “Being recognized as Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 75,000th Oleh makes this moment even more meaningful, and I am really looking forward to beginning this new chapter of my life here in Israel as a current medical student at Ben Gurion University’s Medical School for International Health and a future physician in the Israeli medical system.”

"I would like to congratulate the 225 North American Olim who made Aliyah today with Nefesh B'Nefesh,” said Pnina Tamano-Shata, Minister of Aliyah and Integration. "They are joining the other 50,000 Olim from around the world who made Aliyah this year. It is our duty to ensure they experience a swift transition, and we will do everything in our power to make sure their absorption process is as seamless as possible. I also congratulate the terrific organization, Nefesh B'Nefesh, which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, and wish them continued success in serving new immigrants. The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration hopes to continue its fruitful partnership with them and its shared mission of bringing Olim home."

“Every Aliyah flight carries hundreds of inspiring Olim who are fulfilling their dreams of making Israel their home,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “This summer, we are thrilled to be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Nefesh B’Nefesh as well as our 75,000th Oleh, and we remain steadfast in our mission to facilitate, advocate, educate, and celebrate the miracle of the Jewish state and Aliyah.”

Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of The Jewish Agency, Yaakov Hagoel: "Thousands of Olim from North America choose to immigrate to Israel every year and build their future here, together with us. I congratulate Nefesh B’Nefesh on 20 years of tireless work promoting Aliyah from North America. Every Jew who immigrates to Israel contributes to the resilience of the state and the strengthening of Israeli society. The Jewish Agency will continue, together with Nefesh B’Nefesh and other organizations, to help Jews from every corner of the world who wish to fulfill the Zionist dream and make Aliyah."

"Strengthening the relationship with the Jewish people in the Diaspora and encouraging immigration to Israel (Aliyah) are important elements in the activity of the Zionist movement,” said Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of KKL-JNF. “KKL-JNF supports the blessed actions of Nefesh B’Nefesh in bringing the immigrants to Israel, and the organization's help and guidance in immigration absorption. A good absorption of the immigrants is an important element in the process of Aliyah, in the country’s national identity and in the resilience of the State of Israel. It is important to continue the Aliyah project and strengthen it, especially among the outlying areas. I wish the immigrants a quick and good absorption in the new-old homeland.”

“These young men and women leave their families and friends to help the Jewish state,” said Tomer Schorr, Director of the Tzofim-Garin Tzabar Program. “In choosing to make Aliyah and serve the State of Israel, these future lone soldiers illustrate the importance of developing and maintaining the strong connection between Israel and North American Jewry.”

“El Al was founded to enable people from around the world to make their way to Israel,” said Omry Cohen, VP of Operations at El Al Israel Airlines. “It is our honor and privilege to partner with Nefesh B’Nefesh on these charter flights and help hundreds of people live their dream of Aliyah. Mazel Tov and Aliyah Tova!”

Nefesh B’Nefesh is expecting to conclude the summer with approximately 2,000 new Olim, among them 494 families, 315 single men and women, 205 retirees, and 626 children, with the oldest Oleh being 101 years old and the youngest a two-month-old baby. Of the 2,000 Olim, there are 51 doctors and 87 health professionals who will be integrating into the Israeli medical system. The leading cities where the Olim have chosen to settle are Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Ra'anana and Netanya. About 330 of the Olim have chosen to settle in the south, the north and the capital of Israel.